<%@ Language=VBScript%> Armenia Fund USA




News - Firm Standards for Building a Stable Future

July 8, 2003
Armenia Fund USA addresses concerns regarding fund allocation and corruption

Nation building has never been a clean business, and it is this very concern that keeps scores of Armenians in the Diaspora from investing in building and renovation in Armenia and Karabagh. There are indeed less than ethical practices in Armenia and it is no mystery that “favours” are exchanged when possible; but to set the balance straight there are also organizations that are dedicated to ensuring strict accountability and transparency for their investments through which Armenians can contribute to a stable future for the homeland. The burden of proof may be on Armenia itself, but the burden of leading change and paving the roads of possibility lie upon us, as a collective, living beyond our historic borders.

Building a nation does not only require attendance to the social and civil development but requires a broader vision that infuses a sense of accountability and good practice in Armenia and Karabagh. Armenia Fund USA is one organization dedicated to infrastructure development and in addition to building highways, hospitals and developing social programs, has been championing an aggressive agenda to ensure strict accountability and maintain ethical financial standards. “Armenia Fund USA is dedicated to providing donors with a means of investing in large-scale, tangible progress in Armenia and Karabagh with the assurance that funds are managed with utmost scrutiny,” says the Fund’s new chairman Mr. Kevork Toroyan. Armenia Fund USA, who’s very mission is hinged upon ensuring strict transparency guidelines and project oversight is leading the charge to deliver responsible projects that make the most of donor’s contributions and help inspire self-sustenance in Armenia and Karabagh.

Armenia Fund USA’s most ardent tool for fighting corruption is its Board leadership. The Fund’s board of directors is comprised of accomplished members, with expertise in education, finance, construction, and large-scale project management. Mr. Hagop Kouyoumdjian, Armenia Fund USA’s honorary chairman, is the president of an international specialized construction company. Additionally the Fund’s current Chairman, Kevork Toroyan, has had a forty-year career with the Consolidated Contractors Company, a leading multinational firm with a focus on construction, engineering, and development in the Middle East. Mr. Toroyan, who took on the chairmanship of Armenia Fund USA in January of 2003, has spent the past four years developing, fine tuning and implementing sophisticated bidding processes and measures to ensure that project funds are spent in a transparent manner through direct board involvement and in-country, ground level supervision.

The Fund has taken measured steps against problems such as collusion and bribery in the construction process. With a careful eye on every step of the building process, they are setting an example for responsible development practices, which not only set a new standard in Armenia, but also provide donors with the certainty that every dollar donated to social and foundational infrastructure is used to its fullest. “The transparency processes of the Fund instils quantitative criteria for qualification that reduces the authority of officials to use subjective award selection,” comments Mr. Toroyan. “Although Armenia Fund USA works with the governments of Armenia and Karabagh in order to meet large-scale national needs, the Fund exercises full control over funds and the execution of projects.”

The Fund’s anti-corruption program and bidding procedures are designed to address a number of challenges, common to international construction and development. The first and most common of which is collusion among bidders. This tactic, commonly facilitated by an insider, inflates the bidding share and the return. To avoid collusion, Armenia Fund USA has instituted a public announcement for bids and an open bidding policy, requiring simultaneous technical and commercial proposals to be submitted in separate envelops. A bidder’s technical qualifications are reviewed and narrowed down before commercial proposals are considered. This process makes it very difficult for bidders to create fraudulent arrangements amongst themselves, which ultimately fuel personal agendas at the cost of the developer. In addition, having bids entered in a simultaneous and open manner avoids instances of bribery and the granting of favours such as advanced notice of a bid call, which all in all, ensures that contracts are awarded to the most cost effective and fully qualified bidder.

Prior to construction, the Fund requires a full and complete design of a given project before any bidding and requires the submission of duplicate documents to prevent foul play on official contracts and submissions. Strict accountability is difficult to achieve without personal dedication. Once construction has begun, non-partisan representatives hired through Armenia Fund USA monitor construction on the ground level to ensure that materials and progress are in accordance to what was contracted. Armenia Fund USA’s board leadership takes a hands-on-approach to oversee procurement processes and ensure transparency.

It is these specified measures combined with a commitment to maximizing every donors’ every dollar, which sets a necessary standard for building both infrastructure and good practice in a young nation, such as Armenia. With care and caution, we all stand the chance to continue to spur the growth of our homeland while simultaneously setting the standard for best practices, which are essential to developing national prosperity in the long term.

For more information on Armenia Fund USA’s programs and accountability procedures, please call (212) 689-5307, email [email protected], or visit the office at 152 Madison Avenue, Suite 803, New York, NY 10016.

Armenia Fund USA is dedicated to investing in vital largely self-sustaining initiatives in both Armenia and Karabagh, ranging from infrastructure projects such as the North-South and Goris-Stepanakert highways to social welfare projects in healthcare and education.

Founded in 1992, Armenia Fund USA is part of the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund, the first international, non-governmental, non-profit, non-political network representing all constituents in the Armenian Diaspora.

Armenia Fund USA is dedicated to upholding transparent procurement policies and supervising quality control, ensuring that all funding dollars make it into the right hands, every step of the way. Armenia Fund USA does not involve government authorities in the application of funds and ensures the utmost accountability for every precious dollar donated towards building foundations for a sustainable future.

Armenia Fund USA is a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization Contributions are 100% tax deductible.